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Is the FO "blowing it" in regard to the bench?

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#1 DocBauer

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 12:18 AM

Let me begin by stating I am using the term "bench" rather loosely. I have always believed in constructing the deepest and most versatile club you can. Use the term "reserve" if you prefer that designation. In building any ballclub, even the best and deepest you can, there will always be a number of players who will see the majority of playing time. "Starters", if you will. Days off, injuries, even in regard to some situational matchups, I have always held the belief your "non starters" should be players you can count on to perform at a quality level. What they may bring to the table as their best assets is arguable, but I've never been in favor of a glove only, Mendoza hitting reserve, or a bat only slugger who couldn't play catch in a weekend softball league. In fact, I've never been big on a DH-only player unless he was special. (Yes, Cruz applies here).

So all that being said, I'm perplexed and frustrated with the current construction of the roster. There is time to address this issue, but I'm wondering if the current braintrust is making a mistake here.

Let's examine the depth as it stands currently, assuming everyone is healthy and ready to go.

OF: We are discussing depth and options, not simply continuing arguments about "will he or won't he". Rosario, Buxton, Kepler and Cave offer 4 guys who could, potentially, make up one of the better OF in all of MLB, even if ceilings aren't hit in 2019. I was in favor of McCutchen or Brantley over Cruz for versatility, but that ship has sailed. Wade is a comer who could make his presence felt at some point in 2019 and offers a slightly different skill set than those above him. A fully healthy Granite does the same. (Don't dismiss him). I believe the Twins see Michael Reed as a RH version of Cave, a guy with some skills who may be looking for an opportunity, and may be a bit of a late bloomer. Astudillo could be a corner OF option. And while I just don't see room for him, unless he would pass through waivers, perhaps Austin as well.

C: Garver and Castro should man this position well. Astudillo would seem to be the #3 option here. Call me worried for anything beyond those three.

INF: Just like the OF, there are questions to be answered, but we are seemingly set with Sano, Polanco, Schoop and Cron. Adrianza seems scheduled to make the club. Austin has a shot, but again, I don't see room for him. Once again, Austudillo could provide depth at 3B. Maybe 1B despite a lack of desired height/length. Can he really play 2B? I know he DID, but can he? As has been hotly discussed, Kepler has the potential to play some 1B and SHOULD. Hell, I'd try Cave there too and have Rosario play some 2B and 3B just to see if he can perform there in a crunch! He's done it before.

But it's the infield where I'm really concerned. What else is there?

Frankly, Adrianza has played good to excellent defense most of the time, even filled in "capably" at 1B and OF in brief appearances. He's hit far better than he did with the Giants in his limited opportunity with them. He's even shown a little power at times. I'm a big fan and believer in Austudillo, but are we really banking on him as a key reserve at this point?

No matter how much you like, or believe in, the primary, starting alignment of the infield, where is the depth? Where are the options if someone gets hurt or goes south?

While we are all banging the drum for another quality back of the pen arm, I think we are losing sight of a an opportunity here to create depth and versatility to the roster. While this 3/4-1/4 German/Norweigan would somehow figure out how to dance a jig were we to sign Gonzalez or Lowrie, I believe the roster could be upgraded even with setting our sites lower. I give you three names to consider:

Wilmer Flores, 27yo
Tim Beckham, 28yo
Yangervis Solarte, 31yo

Flores: Career .262BA/.727OPS with 4 consecutive seasons with double digit HR totals. He also has more than 100 career appearances at all 4 infield positions.

Beckham: Career .252BA/ .728OPS with 2 consecutive seasons with double digit HR totals, (22 in 2017). He has over 220 games at SS, 80 at 2B, and 49 at 3B.

Solarte: Career .259BA/ .728OPS with 5 consecutive double digit HR seasons. He has made more than 400 appearances at 3B, has 168 at 2B, 43 at SS, 42 at 1B, and 7 games played in OF.

None of these 3 are anything approaching a Gold Glove defender. But each offers a solid ML bat with acceptable/decent OPS with some power and a lot of various positional flexibility.

Is it even practical the Twins could add a Gonzalez or Lowrie, each of whom remains un-signed?

Are we comfortable with what we have at the ML level and at Rochester?

Do you like the addition of one of these 3 names to finish the roster? Or do you have someone else in mind via FA or trade?

I really think we are missing the boat here. What do you say?
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#2 Rosterman

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 01:00 AM

The Twins do have some hard decisions on who to "bench." They are in trouble if Sano and Buxton don't produce. What is the backup for first base? How do you play Cruz when there is no DH. Someday major league rosters will expand to 27 or 28 and you roster 25 for a game, so you can have the situational runner and an extra bench bat.

 

How did they do it in the old days when you used a guy to bat for a pitcher? Wait, it still works in the NL. You use LESS pitchers!

 

 

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#3 jorgenswest

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 07:54 AM

They have in house options that can offer a lot of flexibility in Adrianza, Cave and Astudillo.

Cave has the outfield covered. Astudillo has catcher, 3B and is also depth at 1B with Sano moving over. The Twins have Adrianza and Torreyes with an option in the infield. Both have solid gloves. They can do better with the bat but I think the need is greater in the pen.
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#4 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 09:46 AM

 

What is the backup for first base?

It's not an exaggeration when I say literally half the hitters projected to make the 25 man roster can play first base. Even Kepler is an option there.

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#5 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 01:30 PM

I still think they would be crazy to cut Austin personally... that would be a nice bench bat, but it also means only having 7 relievers.

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#6 Riverbrian

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 01:32 PM

If you need to write a hit song.

 

You sit down one night and you write a song.  

 

Months later you find out if you wrote a hit song or failed. It takes time before you find out if that night of writing was worth it.

 

By the time you find out that you have failed, that window is closed, time and sweat equity is lost. You must try again, repeat the process over and over again until you write a hit... one song at a time. Each attempt taking up precious time and space. 

 

Smart songwriters... instead of banking on one song becoming a hit and waiting for the results, will write two songs or more to increase the odds that at least one of those songs becomes a hit. If they end up with two hits... fantastic. 

 

For the past decade... probably longer. The Twins have done it one song at a time (Logan Morrison, Plouffe, Casilla get all the reps and this approach has yet to produce a hit.  

 

Miguel Sano is not a hit song yet. We don't know if Miguel Sano is going to be a hit song yet. I'd bring in someone else with the potential to be a hit song at 3B.

 

Then... you pray that you end up with two hit songs, be happy with at least one hit or fire everyone if you end up with none.  

 

If the front office believes that Adrianza is a hit song... Fine. Give him the chance to be that and you'll have my support.  

 

If the front office doesn't believe he is... find someone who has the potential and cut Adrianza adrift.  

 

This is why the rebuild is taking as long as it has. Attempting, Waiting, Failing, Attempting, Waiting, Failing... one player at a time. 

 

Utilize every single roster spot to the fullest potential. 

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#7 ChrisKnutson

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 02:36 PM

No on Gonzalez, but I do think Lowrie is still a possibility (a very small one though).

Personally, I’m fine with Adrianza (Gordon and Arraez too), but if the FO decides to bring in Tim Beckham and Ryan Goins (minor league deal) just in case, I’m all for it.

#8 Thrylos

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 02:41 PM

I'd wait till around March 20th before start thinking what the Twins' bench might be...Got more than 3 months until then.

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#9 Dman

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 03:00 PM

IMO the FO is treating this year like a development year for the young guys.Looks like they are prepared to play anyone on the 40 man and see what sticks.I don't see them making many more moves.They seem to still be looking for there core so not sure how concerned they are about the bench.


#10 lecroy24fan

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 04:00 PM

One thing to note is they don't need to use a 5th starter until April 16th. Per Wes Johnson a few weeks back he thought 12 pitchers to that point is likely. So we may not even have the answer to this topic until then.


#11 Thrylos

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 06:50 PM

 

One thing to note is they don't need to use a 5th starter until April 16th. Per Wes Johnson a few weeks back he thought 12 pitchers to that point is likely. So we may not even have the answer to this topic until then.

 

All it takes is bad weather to take care of pitching plans...

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#12 DrNeau

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 08:06 PM

I get that the Falvey Twins need to get Buxton and Sano going. I get they are trying to show confidence in Buxton. What I do not get is why you tell a guy who just hit .156 with 0 HR that he is starting next year. With those stats, he should be having to prove himself in spring more than any other player on that team. 

 

Our bench if we take 13 pitchers: 

* Garvey

* Kepler or Cave

* Adrianza

 

Our bench if we take 12 pitchers:

* Garvey

* Kepler or Cave

* Adrianza

* Austin

 

Issues: 

* Austin is better than both Cave and Kepler but might not make the team. 
* Buxton is all mad at the team and seemingly cannot control his emotions, even at a charity event. Not a good sign. Oh yeah, he is coming off a .156/0/4 season where he could not hit his way out of a paper bag. 

* Kepler only hit like .224 with 50-some RBIs. Totally inconsistent. Unsure how much longer we can continue running him out there with that poor of an output. 

* Cave and Kepler had way better years than Buxton, but Buxton has been told he's starting next year. 

* Castro is worse than Astudillo, who likely will not make the team. He is also worse than Garver, but Castro will start anyway. If we were smart, we would have signed Ramos and traded Castro.

* Sano had the rod inserted into his leg last year and came into camp out of shape. Had a horrible year. Yet to be seen if he can play at an All-Star level again. 

* Are we going to get the "LoMo effect" out of Cron? Time will tell. 

 

Yes, we could have signed like a Tulowitzki or something to back up Polanco, but Adrianza is not horrid for a backup. He plays a pretty solid SS and has been mostly durable. He also had the exact same slugging percentage as Twins Hall of Famer Joe Mauer. People also say that Mauer might one day be in the MLB HOF. So if our backup SS had the same SLG as him, our backup shortstop must be darn good. 

 

Of course I want to see the stars align and these guys all tear it up, but honestly I would say we are not blowing it with our bench. IMHO, most of our issues (and question marks) reside right in the starting lineup. 

Edited by DrNeau, 08 January 2019 - 08:13 PM.

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#13 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 09:17 PM

I get that the Falvey Twins need to get Buxton and Sano going. I get they are trying to show confidence in Buxton. What I do not get is why you tell a guy who just hit .156 with 0 HR that he is starting next year. With those stats, he should be having to prove himself in spring more than any other player on that team.

Our bench if we take 13 pitchers:
* Garvey
* Kepler or Cave
* Adrianza

Our bench if we take 12 pitchers:
* Garvey
* Kepler or Cave
* Adrianza
* Austin

Issues:
* Austin is better than both Cave and Kepler but might not make the team.
* Buxton is all mad at the team and seemingly cannot control his emotions, even at a charity event. Not a good sign. Oh yeah, he is coming off a .156/0/4 season where he could not hit his way out of a paper bag.
* Kepler only hit like .224 with 50-some RBIs. Totally inconsistent. Unsure how much longer we can continue running him out there with that poor of an output.
* Cave and Kepler had way better years than Buxton, but Buxton has been told he's starting next year.
* Castro is worse than Astudillo, who likely will not make the team. He is also worse than Garver, but Castro will start anyway. If we were smart, we would have signed Ramos and traded Castro.
* Sano had the rod inserted into his leg last year and came into camp out of shape. Had a horrible year. Yet to be seen if he can play at an All-Star level again.
* Are we going to get the "LoMo effect" out of Cron? Time will tell.

Yes, we could have signed like a Tulowitzki or something to back up Polanco, but Adrianza is not horrid for a backup. He plays a pretty solid SS and has been mostly durable. He also had the exact same slugging percentage as Twins Hall of Famer Joe Mauer. People also say that Mauer might one day be in the MLB HOF. So if our backup SS had the same SLG as him, our backup shortstop must be darn good.

Of course I want to see the stars align and these guys all tear it up, but honestly I would say we are not blowing it with our bench. IMHO, most of our issues (and question marks) reside right in the starting lineup.


The interjection of Joe Mauer into this post is a bizarre non sequitur.
I'm pretty sure Mauer is going into the Twins HOF based on his career body of work, not based on last year.

#14 DrNeau

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 09:42 PM

 

The interjection of Joe Mauer into this post is a bizarre non sequitur.
I'm pretty sure Mauer is going into the Twins HOF based on his career body of work, not based on last year.

 

It was a .379 slugging percentage. Same as the backup shortstop. 


#15 Linus

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 09:44 PM

I think the answer is a clear yes. This line up is oddly constructed. I think this is because they wait until players fall cheaply into their lap instead of obtaining the players would fit in an effective lineup
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#16 lecroy24fan

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 10:23 PM

 

All it takes is bad weather to take care of pitching plans...

 

With 5 off days in that stretch if anything it could get the #4 skipped too.


#17 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 12:10 AM

 

It's not an exaggeration when I say literally half the hitters projected to make the 25 man roster can play first base. Even Kepler is an option there.

 

Kepler played a bunch of first base in the lower minors and just a little in the upper minors, but he could more than handle 1B. Sano can play there. Adrianza has played there. I don't know that Cave ever has, but probably could. Like you said, 1B is a place you can throw someone short-term. Then have a guy ready in AAA for short-term, if needed.


#18 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 12:12 AM

Bench. With 13 pitchers, just a 3-man bench.

 

1.) Garver/Castro - one is the backup. Astudillo, and maybe Telis at AAA.

2.) Adrianza - can play all four infield spots, plus LF. Torreyes at AAA, with Gordon. 

3.) Cave can play all three outfield spots. Reed is out of options. But Granite should be healthy. Wade is close.

 

They're fine.

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#19 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 07:45 AM

 

One thing to note is they don't need to use a 5th starter until April 16th. Per Wes Johnson a few weeks back he thought 12 pitchers to that point is likely. So we may not even have the answer to this topic until then.

 

Given that I wouldn't be surprised if Pineda is going to deal with durability issues, it may make sense to have him sit in more of a long relief role during April and limit the action on his arm while letting Mejia take the 4 spot... 

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#20 Channing1964

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 09:58 AM

Here's the thing...am i the only one who got the impression that the explanation for last years fire sale was to free up payroll so that we could "keep our options open" during the 2019 FA signing period? It sounds like all the Falvine yes men think they have some master plan to turn our team into Perrennial World Series Contenders. Im not sure I believe all that, but it wouldn't have taken a great deal of effort to see that the class if free agents available this off season would be rich in middle infielders. To a novice unexperienced fan such as myself, an obvious choice is Marwin Gonzalez. Hmm lets see switch hitter, plays 3b, 2b, SS, 1b, and corner outfield for sure. Has anybody seen his exit velocity numbers for the second half last year? Wow!!! That is a no brainer and he has not been linked to ANY other team yet. If we have all the payroll flexibility our FO claims they achieved with all the lopsided trades be at the deadline then why havent we made a serious offer to Gonzalez? It's obvious we cannot count on Pineda ir Mejia. At least not yet. Why arent we talking about a veteran LH starter? Miley, Gio Gonzalez, or Derek Holland? If Mr Falvine is such a pitching guru why arent we talking to C.Allen, T.Sipp, A.Ottavino etc...etc..Signing Nelson Cruz sent a message age we are serious in 2019. To do nothing since then reminds me of the Griffith era when we were lied to and manupulated to sway public opinion in the FO's favor. Do Something Quick Please!!! The window is closing on us.